Radiometric Dating

The Siberian Traps - Home

The Siberian Traps are the largest known continental flood basalt province. Erupted about 250 million years ago at high latitude in the northern hemisphere, they are one of many known large igneous provinces (LIPs) - vast outpourings of lava that covered large areas of the Earth's surface. A major debate is underway concerning the origin of LIPs in general, and the Siberian Traps in particular: were mantle plumes responsible for their formation?

Several LIPs, including the Siberian Traps, coincide with mass extinctions in the geological record. This has led to further debate as to whether the volcanism and its attendant degassing, rather than meteorite impacts, are the main causes of such extinctions.

Our current research is part of an international effort to investigates the links, if any, between the volcanism and the end-Permian mass extinction, and to attempt to resolve whether or not a mantle plume was involved in their formation.






Photo Caption: Basaltic lavas on the Putorana Plateau.
Photo copyright: NHK, Japan, reproduced with permission

New dates on basalts from Noril'sk, Taimyr, Tunguska, Urals and the Kuzbass confirm the vast extent of the Siberian LIP . Most of these subprovinces were erupted at the same time as the Permo-Triassic boundary, part from Triassic activity in the region of Chelyabinsk. For further details see here and Reichow et al. (2009).

A review of the possible links between the Siberian Traps and the end-Permian mass extinction has recently been published by Saunders and Reichow (2009).

This website is designed to provide information about the Siberian Traps and the contemporaneous end-Permian mass extinction, and to outline our research on these topics. Please provide feedback, and offer links to your own appropriate sites. If you are interested in pursuing research in any of the topics raised here, please contact us.

Andy Saunders
Marc Reichow

Last updated 6 March 2009 by Andy Saunders